Sunday, July 9, 2023

Contour Airlines - The Sequel


So, I decided to take another try at flying out of Paducah on Contour Airlines.  The flight ended up being competitive with other airports, so I took a shot at it.  What I did this time was make my reservation via American Airlines.  I could check in for the American flight via their app and for Contour via theirs.

I arrived at the airport and the TSA gate agent said, “Your ID doesn’t match your identity”.  I was wearing my Green Lantern shirt and he said my ID should have said “Hal Jordan”.  We had a good laugh over that.  Little did I know that would be the highlight of my flight out of Paducah.

Everything went fine at the beginning.  We boarded the plane on time and started off.  Unfortunately, there was an announcement that there was an issue, and we were taken back to the terminal at Barkley and had to deplane.  We had to stay in the gate area since the TSA agents were no longer there (since the next flight wasn’t until that afternoon).  We sat there for several hours until someone arrived to pronounce the plane OK.  Most of us were going to miss our connecting flights.  I thought I would have time since my layover was over two and half hours.  I asked the person from Contour if I’d make that.  She shrugged and said “Probably”.    She did tell us all that even though the flight time was listed as two hours, we would get there in one hour and five minutes.

So, we took off finally over two hours late.  We did indeed get there in one hour and five minutes.  Unfortunately, it took almost twenty minutes to get to the gate and start deplaning.   My departing flight to New York was of course in a totally different terminal.  I still would have time to make it if I hurried.  Then, it hit me.  The plane from Paducah had limited overhead bin space.  So, our carryon bags had been tagged and stored on the plane.  It took over fifteen minutes to get those.  So, I missed my connecting flight.

Things did work out OK though.  Fortunately, American has a dedicated support desk in their terminal at Charlotte.  I was able to easily get on the next flight to LaGuardia which left within the hour.  I didn’t get my preferred seat in the aisle, but at least I wasn’t delayed too much.

So, my chance of flying out of Barkley again on Contour?  Pretty low unless it’s a great deal.  I feel the risk of missing my connection is too great unless I have a long layover time (which means sitting in Charlotte for hours potentially).  It is a shame though since when I flew back, I was one of the first to get to arrive at the new Barkley terminal (it had opened the day before).   It’s a very nice facility – you could still smell the “new”.  The old terminal had been there as long as I could remember – at least forty years.  This one is much better.  I don’t know how much I’ll be seeing of it though except possibly to rent a car from Enterprise.

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